Gyms have been one of the businesses that were attacked the most during the pandemic. From trainers to managers, everybody had to adjust to the lockdowns and new guidelines. I spoke with Jeffrey Rosembert, a trainer at World Gym, and Jian Abdellah who’s a manager.
Fitness centers were deemed non-essential by the government and that made them last on the pecking order. In Quebec, there was a ton of confusion relating to the lockdowns and curfews.
For Jeffrey, he had to adjust in a multitude of ways because of the curfews and lockdowns. He decided to give prepared online workouts with his clients to keep in touch during the initial lockdown. He’s so passionate about his customers, he organized group workouts outside since he couldn’t train multiple households inside.
In October 2020, the Prime Minister shut down fitness centers till March 2021. At that time Quebec had already been under curfews at 8 PM for 2 months as the restrictions eased up, Legault reinstated gyms and scaled back the curfew to 9:30 PM. Just to force them to close those businesses two weeks later and bring back the curfew to 8 PM.
In the past two years, a lot of uncertainty has made it difficult to run the business with consistency. It has affected the number of returning customers at these fitness centers. You could feel the decline in attendance when comparing it to before the pandemic.
When I spoke to Jian, she echoed the same sentiment. She believed that the Quebec government not being decisive in their decision-making made people unsure about fitness centers. A lot of people doubted that gyms were safe even with the new cleaning guidelines.
She thinks that not only the cleaning has changed but managing as a whole has changed a lot and it has been a big adjustment for her. Quebec instilled the vaccine passport on the 15th of September and Jian said that managing that was a challenge in itself.
The vaccine passport had mixed reviews everywhere as some people thought it is necessary to keep everyone safe while others believe that vaccines shouldn’t be enforced on people to have access to non-essential businesses. Jian says it has been difficult to explain to them that they can’t access the gym until they are fully vaccinated. Jian declined to give her thoughts on the mandate.
Safe to say the pandemic itself has been hard on everybody, multiple businesses have been affected greatly by forcing them to shut down completely. Some people would argue that no business has been hit harder than fitness centers. From manager to trainers, everybody had to adjust COVID-19 as it hasn’t been a seamless transition but there’s always room for improvement.